I want to talk to all the married guys for a few minutes.
Men, we've all heard the go-to advice on romancing our wives: Bring her flowers. Never forget a birthday or anniversary. Put down the phone when she’s talking. Take her on a date a few times a month.
Sure, those things definitely help to keep a marriage strong, but here’s what I’ve found in my own marriage to my wife Holly: They don’t work as well as pursuing who your wife is becoming.
Here’s what I mean. Holly and I have been married for 17 years—I met her when she was just 18 years old. And for people like us who’ve been together a while, it can be easy to forget our spouse isn’t the same person they were when we met them.
While Holly still has many qualities today that belonged to the girl I fell in love with, many others have come with time. She’s changed. Her past struggles, insecurities, outlooks and dreams are not the ones she has now. She processes life and relationships through a much different lens than she used to.
Men, if you want to stay deeply connected to your wife, to romance her, you must pursue her mind to learn how she’s growing.
Holly and I recently went on a short trip. We had just one full day with no work, no kids and nothing on the agenda but to be together. I knew she’d had a rough few weeks, so as soon as our day started over breakfast, I let her know I cared about what was happening. I asked her where in life she felt insecure, confident, healthy and hurt. I asked her what makes her happiest, what makes her anxious, what she looks forward to every day, and what she dreams about for the future.
The conversation that followed was one of the best we've had in months. Holly shared things I had no idea she was going through, and I realized we felt closer. Why? Because I was discovering her at a deeper level, and that’s the connection our wives long for—to be discovered by the man they love most.
Your wife wants the freedom to become the person God created her to be, so don't hold her back by assuming the old and familiar. Your wife wants to know that you think she is far more interesting than anything you could capture about her in an Instagram post. She wants to know that you find her far more complex than any thought she shares in a 140-character tweet. So seek to know her mind at a deeper level than anyone else does.
And as much as Holly longs for space to grow—room to try new hobbies, push her own potential, develop the gifts inside of her, and reconsider her priorities—she longs for me, the person she loves most, to discover her evolving self.
Pursuing your wife's mind takes work. It's much easier to bring flowers or go on a date where you both talk family logistics. Trust me, I love those dates too, but they just don't keep the fire burning. So fellas, go ahead and do the whole Valentine’s Day date with flowers for your wives, but don't forget the best gift you can give her: pursuing her mind and seeking to know who she’s becoming.